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Scrutiny
 
SHIPPING INDUSTRY: EMISSION CONTROL
Clear The Waterways first, Can You?
A number of Industries are Blamed for their Contribution to Global Warming, but as Statistics Reveal, The Shipping Industry beats The Rest, and Requires Special Regulations
Issue Date - 12/05/2011
 
Unfortunately, ‘long term’ is a set of words that people use in a lot of instances, but rarely do they understand their relevance or importance. Unfortunately, as far as caring for environment is concerned, a lot has to do with ‘long term’ impact, which does explain why it remains relatively low on priority for global businesses, governments & people alike. Innumerable measures have been taken; but risks remain alarmingly high. A major factor that people are ignoring is shipping, the greatest source of environmental pollution. And the dangers are visible here and now.

Shipping is responsible for 3-5% of climate change emissions worldwide and contributes around 900 million tonnes of carbon annually. Total emissions are comparable to some major national economies. One big container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50 million cars. The total emissions of 15 large cargo ships are equivalent to the emissions of all cars together in the world! International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that if things go as they are, shipping’s contribution to greenhouse emissions could reach 18% by 2050. From 1990 to 2007, emissions of basic pollutants (NOx, SO2, PM & CO2) from shipping have nearly doubled to 1096 million tons.

About 60,000 humans die by particulate matter (PM) emissions from shipping; this costs over $330 billion annually to the world economy. In one example, it was estimated that shipping emissions cost the Danish government some £5 billion annually. Around 33% of total deaths are occurring in Europe and around 25% in each of East Asia and South Asia. For example, over 700 premature deaths take place in the Los Angeles port area annually. Low-grade ship bunker fuel has 2,000 times more sulphur content than diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles. There are over 90,000 cargo ships worldwide and they burn over 300 million tonnes of bunker fuel every year. Researches show that a passenger cruise can generate about 210,000 gallons of black water, 1,000,000 gallons of gray water, 37,000 gallons of oily bilge water and more than eight tonnes of solid waste in a week. As a consequence, over one in ten children suffer from asthma in major port cities. Unfortunately, the recent meeting of the IMO, where plans for implementing measures such as emissions trading schemes, remained deadlocked due to the very familiar debate between developed and developing countries, wherein the latter are reluctant to compromise on their growth. But considering its world beating emission statistics and deplorable report card, shipping deserves action here and now.

 

Sray Agarwal           

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